“The Sixth Trumpet”
The Sixth Angel now blows his trumpet, and brings about more judgment. On the surface, this looks like only doom and gloom, as it is for those who seek evil and refuse to repent. But, what many people choose not to see in this passage is that this is also the work of God’s patience and grace. Perhaps it is anticlimactic and our thirst for revenge outweighs our desire to see things set right. But God reveals His temperament by offering His forgiveness, thus allowing for humanity to repent and come to their senses. Nevertheless, they choose not the ways of God and life, nor do they choose the ways of goodness and virtue. Instead, they refuse His offer of grace and forgiveness and dig themselves further down in their sin and became entrenched in their debauchery. People from the past, present, and future (all of humanity) are bent on serving only the means and wants of self. They seek what is wrong¾naturally and deliberately. These acts are continual throughout human history and are contemporaneous, remaining now and in the future, a result of our fallen, sinful nature (Rom. 1: 18-32; 3:23; 6:23).
The Roman Empire was experiencing greater and greater problems with the Parthians in the eastern border area of Asia Minor, where John’s readers were. This region greatly feared attacks and/or an all out invasion by them. These Parthians were depicted as the enemy and propaganda waged an early “cold war” between them and Rome. There was even mythology that Nero would arise from the dead and lead these Parthians in his blood lust revenge against Rome, the Jews, and the Christians. Some Jews believed the Parthians would come and save them from the Roman occupation, hence why the war of 66-70 started against a far superior force. However, they did not receive the help, and the Jewish revolt failed, abruptly ending the Temple, the city, and the Jewish way of life. The first century Jews put their trust in war and a fabled, non-convicting messiah instead of the Living Lord!
This passage is as much about mercy as it is about judgment! The human desire is to remain in sin when we have in full view its destructive nature and how it hurts. It is not just mischief; it seriously maims us and all those around us. The idea of sin can confound the mind. Yet, it is our minds that are not conformed, neither is the soul of those who remain in sin. Sin is very, very powerful-not just a lure, but also a way of life that seems fulfilling, exciting, and desirable, even when it does not work and it kills us (Rom. 1:28-31).